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Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel

Gilbert Blythe is the rival, friend, love interest, and eventual husband of Anne Shirley in Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series of novels.

In the CBC Television film adaptations, Gilbert Blythe is portrayed by Jonathan Crombie. For the 1934 film adaption, Gilbert is portrayed by Tom Brown. In the Japanese anime adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, he is voiced by Kazuhiko Inoue. For the musical that has run for more than 40 years at the Charlottetown Festival which focuses on Anne and Gilbert's relationship, the CD recording features Andrew MacBean as Gilbert.

Character Description

Gilbert is described in the books as being very handsome, with dark, curly hair and hazel eyes. He is tall with a lean build.

In his youth, he seems aware of his good looks and popularity with the girls, therefore, he was somewhat smug and self-assured. Anne's dismissal of his affections, however, seem to ground him, and he matures and is well-liked by many. Throughout the series, Gilbert is depicted as a fair, practical and reliable man, who is inclined to have a "common sense" view of things. Keenly intelligent, he has a strong wit and sense of humour. As Gilbert matures, he becomes less headstrong and demonstrates a sense of patience and devotion. He eventually becomes a highly-respected doctor in the town of Glen St. Mary, PEI, where he lives with his wife Anne and their children.

Series Overview

Gilbert Blythe takes an immediate interest with Anne Shirley upon their first meeting; however, when Anne ignores him, he calls her "Carrots," because of her red hair, unaware of her sensitivity towards her hair. In response, Anne smashes her slate over his head in anger and despite his attempts to apologize, she refuses to forgive him for many years. They develop a strong academic rivalry instead, and Anne gradually acknowledges Gilbert as an intellectual equal; they eventually compete to win scholarships at Queens Academy in order to attend college. However, as a result of stubborn pride and several unfortunate misunderstandings, the two avoid reconciliation and regretfully only share brief moments of cordiality. When Anne's foster father, Matthew, dies of a heart attack, Anne chooses to give up the Avery Scholarship she won in order to stay at Green Gables and support Marilla. Gilbert, to finance his own education, chooses to teach and takes the position at the Avonlea School. After learning of Anne's predicament and how she has applied for the nearby Carmody School after she could not teach at Avonlea, he gives up his position at Avonlea so she can remain at Green Gables with Marilla. Gilbert goes on to teach at the White Sands School and Anne, after learning of his noble act, finally forgives him and they become good friends.

During the two years Anne teaches in Avonlea, Gilbert becomes her close friend and falls in love with her without Anne realizing it. He aspires to become a doctor and goes on to study at Redmond College, where he is joined by Anne, freed of personal obligations after the widowed Rachel Lynde moves to Green Gables to keep Marilla company, in Anne of the Island. Gilbert's feelings for Anne become increasingly apparent during their first year of college, while Anne becomes uncomfortable around him because she believes her feelings for Gilbert are entirely platonic as he does not match her idealized true love: a handsome, melancholy, and over-romanticized hero. However, Anne's jealousy of Gilbert's other potential love interests, her moments of physical attraction for him, and her deep respect and devotion to their friendship suggest that she is simply in denial. In their second year, Gilbert proposes but Anne refuses him, saying she doesn't care for him "in that way" and insists on being friends. Disappointed, Gilbert reveals that "your friendship can't satisfy me, Anne. I want your love -- and you tell me I can never have that" [1]. Their relationship becomes estranged, especially after Anne meets and is courted by fellow Redmond student Roy Gardner, a man that seems to personify her "ideal", although Anne secretly admits to herself that Roy lacks certain qualities that Gilbert possesses, such as a mutual sense of humour. Gilbert seems to concede defeat and Anne believes that he becomes involved with another student, Christine Stuart, who is later revealed to only be a friend. Instead, he focuses his attention to obtaining the Cooper Prize, a prestigious scholarship that will allow him to attend medical school.

Not long after graduation, Gilbert contracts typhoid fever as a result of physically exhausting himself during school and remains weak for months, narrowly escaping death. Meanwhile, Anne refuses a proposal of marriage from Roy Gardner after realizing at the last minute that she does not love Roy. Gilbert's illness invokes the revelation in Anne that she does and has always loved him, that "she belonged to him and he to her" [2], and recognizes at last that she mistook her "bond" to Gilbert as strong friendship instead of true love, and her relationship with Roy was merely "flattered fancy." Gilbert recovers from his illness and resumes his friendship with Anne after learning she refused Roy Gardner. He proposes to her again and she accepts. However, they remain engaged for three years, as Gilbert intends to finish his medical course before marrying her; they correspond regularly in their time apart (Anne of Windy Poplars), when Anne works as a principal in Summerside.

The two marry in Anne's House of Dreams, and move to the town of Glen St. Mary, where Gilbert sets up his medical practice. He proves to be an excellent and well-respected doctor. Their married life is very happy and they have seven children: Joyce (also called Joy; died as an infant), James Matthew (Jem), Walter Cuthbert (who dies during the First World War), Anne and Diana (twins; also called Nan and Di), Shirley, and Bertha Marilla (called Rilla). As the series ends, Gilbert is fifty-five and still in love with Anne Shirley.

References

  1. ^ Anne of the Island, Chapter 20: Gilbert Speaks
  2. ^ Anne of the Island, Chapter 40: A Book of Revelation







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